Humankind’s confrontation with the challenges of technological change is centuries old – just as old is the debate about the interaction between humans, work and technical development. However, digitalisation has meant that the permanent pressure for transformation has reached a speed that was hitherto unknown.

At the same time, industrial companies and their employees are facing another enormous challenge: climate change and the resulting social consequences, especially with regard to energy policy and sustainable economic activity. This dual pressure of digital acceleration and ecological rethinking can have a disruptive effect on established industrial production and work models, but it also offers opportunities for industrial modernisation and shaping good work.

This dual transformation is opening up a wide range of task areas relating to labour policy. In particular, a socially and democratically successful transformation includes securing income, social standards and professional development opportunities for all employees. Neither technological utopias nor dystopias are helpful here – what is needed is a sound understanding of how the socio-technological development is unfolding in concrete terms. This varies from industry to industry and from company to company. The effects on work and employment are correspondingly broad.

Here the IG BCE Foundation for Labour and the Environment is focusing on two questions:

  1. How are value creation patterns, production structures and the innovation landscape changing in industry in view of the dual transformation (digitalisation and sustainability), and how can industrial companies reposition themselves?
  2. How can good work be made future-proof in view of the current transformations and crises? Which adjustments are needed, for example in education and training systems within and outside companies?

The IG BCE Foundation for Labour and the Environment carries out projects that are intended to contribute to a better understanding of the interplay between people, work, society and technology.